My first-ever concert at the Capitol One Arena in Washington, DC, went well, overall. The venue was nice enough. My seat, in the Center Section (“Simon’s Section,” as Duranies call it), Row J, seat 7 – right in the middle of the row – was pretty much right in the center of the section. I wouldn’t complain about the seat at all. I couldn’t take a bottle of water down to the floor with the bottle cap, which I found odd. I had to purchase the water in a little store where I was charged $25 for it, which I’m still hoping my credit card company made right, since it was only supposed to cost $5.
It was fun to have another Tazewellian in the crowd that evening. Tommy Brewster, who was the closest thing we had to a living, breathing John Taylor in high school, sat in Row J of Nick’s Section, so we got to chat before the show, and a little at a pre-arranged dinner with several fellow 80’s Cruisers beforehand, too. “High School Chrissie” was pretty stoked about getting to share a show with him, as I idolized Tommy back in the day. Sometimes dreams becoming reality live up to expectations, or are even better, because, over time, I’ve been privileged to actually strike up a friendship with Tommy, not just admire him from afar as I did as a freshman in high school. (He was a senior, and while he was always very polite to me, we never ran in the same circles, so he never really knew who I was; Tommy, on the other hand, was known by everyone, and has gone on to become a successful educator and all-around great guy doing lots to make the world a better place.)
What about the show, then? First up was Bastille. I was completely unfamiliar with their body of work, but I learned my lesson from Garbage at Tears For Fears last Summer – hold judgment and get to your seat early so you don’t miss anything. Bastille did not disappoint in this regard. I loved their up-tempo songs. Their energy, boundless and amazing, pulled the crowd in, and by their final song, had everyone singing along with their help instructing us before the song started. I left impressed by them and ready to check them out on other music access sources.
Next up came Chic. Nile Rodgers produces solid results every show, no matter what. The man is the epitome of “music professional,” and his body of work speaks for itself. Everyone in the house enjoys the music and the vibes that emanate from the whole experience. Two words – Kimberley Davis! The woman is phenomenal, and her voice is incomparable. I loved her when Chic toured with Duran Duran on the Paper Gods Tour and I love her on the Future Past Tour. She is the best part of the Chic experience, in my opinion. Her voice and Nile’s enthusiasm make their part of the show a success and time flies while the whole audience is grooving like there’s no tomorrow.
Duran Duran. I had mixed feelings going into this show, to be quite honest. I’m not a fan of the album they’re promoting on this tour. Which turned out not to be a huge problem, as they only played two songs from the whole album. It gave me a chance to rest after walking over seven miles in DC with Russ that afternoon. They also premiered “Danse Macabre” there that evening, which is the title track from their forthcoming album being released on Simon’s birthday (October 27). I like it. It has elements of several of their old songs, which both intrigues me and leaves me thinking that it’s inevitable after 40+ years (but Simon really should not try to rap). They sang numerous classics/standards. No beach balls, thankfully. No confetti, sadly. Simon still spits water into the audience during “White Lines,” which disgusts and amazes me in the age of covid; I find it utterly socially irresponsible and disrespectful to each and every person who paid money to be in that audience, whether in the path of his saliva or not. And yes, ten rows back, I still got spit on. The highlight of the setlist for me was “Lonely in Your Nightmare,” until, for some ungodly reason, they mashed it up with Rick James’ song “Super Freak.” Don’t even get me started on why such a travesty was allowed to take place. I’m still trying to let it go, and the concert was weeks ago (I’m actually writing this in early October). I’m still trying to figure out John’s wardrobe choice, as it was a see-through black “blouse” with a plunging neckline – when I say see-through, I mean really sheer – I could read his tattoos from my seat. I guess I have never understood fashion, though, so I won’t try to analyze this, either. He played well, and in the grand scheme, that was far more important than how he looked. Simon seemed extremely campy in a couple of numbers and left much of “Wild Boys” to the crowd, it seemed, but seemed to settle into it more as the show went on. He still chews that gum like a cow chewing its cud; I guess some things never change – I still wait for the day when he trips and chokes (not that I’m wishing that at all – it’s just an accident waiting to happen).
Am I glad I spent that insane amount of money and traveled that crazy number of miles and went? I am. If it’s the last time I see them, I went out with a smile on my face, some of my favorite songs in my heart, and some great memories in my mind. We’re never promised a “next time,” for concerts or anything else. I dedicated my concert to the memory of my friend Brandi, who passed away from a raptured aneurysm in the Spring. She bought my ticket to the 2022 concert on my birthday in Maryland that I sold my ticket for; the girl was a concert machine and I loved her for it. I used to be, too. I’m not exactly sure what changed, but I’m okay with it. I have a lot of fantastic memories to write about now.